Only Sachin is an automatic selection: Ganguly

With the exception of Sachin Tendulkar, every Indian cricketer will have to be ready to get dropped from the team, Sourav Ganguly said on Sunday.

updated: January 18, 2009 17:20 IST
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With the exception of Sachin Tendulkar, every Indian cricketer will have to be ready to get dropped from the team, Sourav Ganguly said on Sunday.

"This holds true for everyone with the only exception being Sachin Tendulkar ... getting dropped and picked is a part and parcel in everyone's life," Ganguly said at a felicitation hosted by his home association CAB here.

The former India captain remembered his "difficult" days in 2005 when he had a spat with the then coach Greg Chappell and consequently dropped from the Indian team.

In an open forum titled 'Insider's View' which saw Arun Lal acting as the moderator with Sambaran Banerjee, Pranab Roy, Utpal Chatterjee, Saba Karim, Deep Dasgupta, Devang Gandhi, Rohan Gavaskar and Laxmi Ratan Shukla in the panel, Ganguly said he was very disappointed after the 2005 episode.

"I was not happy and very disappointed with the turn out of events (in 2005)," he said.

He said he had even wanted to know from the then selector Pranab Roy what actually happened in the closed room of selection.

"There were players like Harbhajan (Singh) and (Virender) Sehwag who stood up and then had to face the brunt of getting dropped. I knew something wrong was happening at the selection," he said.

Ganguly declined to talk about the infamous spat with Chappell, but said players like Sehwag and Harbhajan are match winners now.

"Remember those are the players who are still the match winners ... It's important for a captain to generate trust among your players, who stand up in the difficult times. When you win matches everybody will go overboard, but when you are not doing well it's your players who support you.

"But I had already played 400 matches by then (2005). In fact, I had given up at one point of time. But all my family members, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and the people here supported me a lot. I knew by getting disappointed and sitting at home won't get me a place in the team. So I had to take the grind," Ganguly said.

He praised CAB chief Jagmohan Dalmiya who "has also been a huge support to me".

"The CAB and the staff had provided me with all the facilities required to be successful cricketer.

"Lot of players retire with the Indian cricket team. But I consider myself fortunate to finish as a player with Bengal. It's been an honour to be part of the Bengal cricket team," he added.

Ganguly was referring to his last match against Goa in the Ranji Plate which helped Bengal return to the Super League this season.

"It was a very crucial game for Bengal. I congratulate the entire team, the coach and the manager for doing a wonderful job this year. I know it's tough to get back to Elite Division from Plate. It's not a small achievement."

Terming the promotion to Elite Division a huge achievement for Bengal, the former left-hander said the state should now try to be the best team taking a cue from the Ranji champions Mumbai.

"Getting into Elite again after we lost about seven players to Indian Cricket League (ICL) is a big achievement. I wish them all the best in future years. It's not just going into Elite again, you have to do the best. Trying to emulate what Mumbai have achieved over the last 38 years. I am sure you have the quality to do so."

The 36-year old also delved in his formative days. "It gives me immense pleasure this evening to stand in the middle of Eden Gardens. I have spent my entire life on this ground. I played my first match, perhaps at the age of 13, when I was asked to play a friendly against Orissa for Bengal U-15. It's been a long 22 years since then."

Describing the Eden as one of the best grounds, he added, "I consider myself privileged and lucky to play every form of cricket on this green park. Right from U-15 to Test cricket... to captain Bengal and India on this very ground. I can't remember having lost a Test match at this venue. It's another honour which I will cherish all through my life."

Recollecting how he got into Bengal side at the expense of his brother Snehashish in the Ranji Trophy final against Delhi in 1989-90, he said, "I didn't know about it till my father told me after I returned from my tuition. He asked me about the match and I said yes I am in the playing XV. But he said 'you are in the XI.' I was happy and in the excitement I did not inquire who was dropped.

"Only at night my mother told me that my elder brother was dropped. It didn't affect me as I was very excited but later I realised that my brother was disappointed. But then we won the Ranji Trophy and he again made a comeback ... everything became normal."

Ganguly said his ailing father who is being treated at a hospital could not attend the function.

"I wish my dad was here. He has being a part of the association for very long time. I wish he was here to give me the award. My family members are attending him at the hospital. I thank my family members during my initial years and my last thank you to everyone. You have been a huge support."